In the shadows of the U.S. Presidential Elections the coming Tuesday, in less than 3 weeks the state assembly polls in Kashmir will start. The polls are divided in several phases, the first of which starts on 17 November in Leh and Kargil in Ladakh, Bandipore in Kashmir Valley and Poonch in Jammu region.
After initially refusing to participate in the polls, on Monday (27 Oct) PDP (The People’s Democratic Party) decided to partake. There has been numerous rumours surrounding the boycott, but sources claim that the PDP was against the participation due to what they saw as inappropriate timing of the elections. However, other sources in the party claimed that the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference could not be given the advantage of no opposition in the election.
However, there is a concern within the PDP of the fairness of the polls next month. The leader, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, travelled to Delhi to discuss the terms of the elections with Indian PM Manmohan Singh. One demand was to let arrested leaders of The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) free. There is a fear of what will happen if the Kashmiris perceive that the polls are rigged or that the Indian government was unjustly supporting the NC.